Posts tagged ‘Marketing’

People are not the problem, marketing warfare is.

What’s been frying my goat for a while lately (like 10 years or so) is looking at how we conduct our business in the agency landscape. We use military words like Briefing, Strategy, Tactics, Campaign, Target, Territory, Launch and Positioning everyday. I am wondering what good it does using this language of war. Everyone says that marketing is war. Is it? War against what?

Let’s ask Billy Bob, a traditional, gun-toting marketer who believes marketing is war:

Billy Bob: I tell you who we’re fightin’, buddy. It’s them dang evil-doer consumers. These folks are conspirin’ against us, leadin’ a lawless digital lifestyle, creat’n’ all this brand brouhaha for us marketers, destroying our brand values and shooting web2.0 flak right down from the blogosphere and what have you. If we don’t strike them with a big nice nuclear promotion, we be fixin’ to go down with our brand reputation. So, I am asking you: are you with us or with the consumers?

Personally, Billy Bob, I believe war is not an answer. We’ve been seeing this for a long time and we’ve been turning our faces away, hoping this Internet thing would just go away. Fact is, we’ve just made it a war because we see human behavior as something we need to manipulate and change, and we made it marketing’s job to manipulate that human behavior. Also of course, it is our job to build a ridgid brand fortress, that can defend itself against its enemies, the competition. Now that digital technologies have empowered people and changed the rules of the game, it isn’t as easy to manipulate people, and advertising just doesn’t seem to work anymore. And, for lack of a better idea, what’s our response? More troops for the trenches, bigger defense budgets, more artillery.

Because the Billy Bob Marketing budget for ineffective advertising, whether in “traditional” or “digital” channels, is steadily rising, no matter how inefficient. As a result, to stay within the militaristic metaphor we seem so used to, “consumers” soon become “casualties of war.” Well, I guess, you know, such is war. I mean, we tried to use our smart micro-segmentation bombs and even put 10% of our budget into our magic digital targeted media bullet, but you’re always gonna get some collateral damage, right? After all, this is why we call those casualties consumers: this way they remain abstract and we don’t have to connect with their actual life.

Seriously, this terminology, and more importantly, the warped thinking behind it isn’t appropriate anymore, and maybe never was. So if you’re asked by Billy Bob to support the troops in advertising and marketing , it’s just not black and white anymore. All I know is: I don’t wanna support the troops and their strategic goals of “increasing brand awareness” or “building brand preference” or “driving brand consideration” if all I get is an unhuman, purposeless advertising carpet bombing campaign. This marketing warfare myth has to go. The point is, you can’t work like that anymore.

Ok, sure. Let’s say we all agree. How would we go about everything if we stripped out all this militaristic lingo and the thinking behind it?

  1. Don’t just think about positioning in “what is…”, think about “what if?”
  2. Don’t start with the category, the product or the brand. Because, guess what, you will end up where you left off.
  3. Instead, start with a purpose. A purpose, mind you, not a promise. A purpose needs a conviction, a reason for being and a fuel that amplifies it. Fuel comes from a human behavior that we want to enable.
  4. Based on this purpose, think of acts that a brand can create to enable that human behavior in positive ways, instead of just cranking out ads.
  5. Don’t think of creativity as idea generation for campaigns, think of creativity as ideas for experiences and valuable exchanges.
  6. Don’t message at people, message for something they believe in.
  7. Don’t call them consumers, call them people.

Peace out, y’all.

Advertisements

November 12, 2008 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

The Microsite is dead. Long live the microsite!

At the risk of overquoting David Armano these days, when I read his blog entry on Microsites, I could literally hear the chords being struck for me there. And, of course, I was mad I didn’t write about Microsites before he did. 😉

Currently, we get to do quite a number of microsites for our clients, as they are part of their “mix” now. Generally, I don’t have a problem with microsites: they can be quite engaging and also deliver on some key metrics. Sometimes, if you’re really lucky, they even get viral and create the extra boon of awareness.

However, I think there are a number of other things as well that you can do to achieve communication objectives, and more imporantly, user objectives. When Microsites are briefed automatically and as an after-thought, as part of a larger “big idea” ad campaign, it makes sense to step back and first assess what the objectives were and then choose the correct tactic. The fact is, a microsite isn’t always the right tactic in the digital toolkit, or sometimes, it can only be a good tactic if you do a number of other things as well.

In order to do this assessment you need to really look at how people behave in regards to level of awareness they already have, where they go to get the kind of information you are talking about, where they would expect this information to be if they didn’t already know where to look, and also, if whatever context you embed your microsite in can ever be a credible one. This, unfortunately, takes time to find out; time you don’t always get at the tail-end of an already established “above-the-line” campaign. Also, it requires redefining the true and tried marketing KPI of reach and impressions. If you keep gauging digital experience with those, you will never be quite happy with what you did.

That’s why, in my experience, the most effective campaigns in which microsites played a vital role were those, where the campaign idea wasn’t created in a vacuum of creating a big idea TV spot, but rather when a team of multi-channel creatives, planners and designers got together simultaneously to come up with ideas based on existing human behavior and to create ideas for experiences, not just messages. 

In effect, how I would like to think of as the microsite is that it is a great tool, when you don’t see it as something you have to produce just because it is part of the marketing toolkit. What it should rather be is a reason to look at what people do and to influence the purpose of the whole campaign, including your “ATL” .

Hint: if you can’t make a microsite that achieves objectives, it’s not always because the people who make it are out of ideas, or because there is a problem with making digital work for your brand. Sometimes, it’s because you should ask your digital people to help you create the overall campaign to carry a bigger purpose than just a message.

August 25, 2008 at 12:13 pm 1 comment

Wheel of Marketing Misfortune

I loved this article by David Armano and his Wheel of Marketing Misfortune. It’s a fresh way to exhort everyone in the digital marketing business to just, you know, chill out a bit.

Read the whole thing here.

July 9, 2008 at 1:50 pm Leave a comment

People are not the problem. Marketing warfare is.

What’s been frying my goat for a while lately (like 10 years or so) is looking at how we conduct our business in the agency landscape. We use military words like Briefing, Strategy, Tactics, Campaign, Target, Territory, Launch and Positioning everyday. I am wondering what good it does using this language of war. Everyone says that marketing is war. Is it? War against what?

Let’s ask Billy Bob, a traditional, gun-toting marketer who believes marketing is war:

Billy Bob: I tell you who we’re fightin’, buddy. It’s them dang evil-doer consumers. These folks are conspirin’ against us, leadin’ a lawless digital lifestyle, creat’n’ all this brand brouhaha for us marketers, destroying our brand values and shooting web2.0 flak right down from the blogosphere and what have you. If we don’t strike them with a big nice nuclear promotion, we be fixin’ to go down with our brand reputation. So, I am asking you: are you with us or with the consumers?

Personally, Billy Bob, I believe war is not an answer. We’ve been seeing this for a long time and we’ve been turning our faces away, hoping this Internet thing would just go away. Fact is, we’ve just made it a war because we see human behavior as something we need to manipulate and change, and we made it marketing’s job to manipulate that human behavior. Also of course, it is our job to build a ridgid brand fortress, that can defend itself against its enemies, the competition. Now that digital technologies have empowered people and changed the rules of the game, it isn’t as easy to manipulate people, and advertising just doesn’t seem to work anymore. And, for lack of a better idea, what’s our response? More troops for the trenches, bigger defense budgets, more artillery.

Because the Billy Bob Marketing budget for ineffective advertising, whether in “traditional” or “digital” channels, is steadily rising, no matter how inefficient. As a result, to stay within the militaristic metaphor we seem so used to, “consumers” soon become “casualties of war.” Well, I guess, you know, such is war. I mean, we tried to use our smart micro-segmentation bombs and even put 10% of our budget into our magic digital targeted media bullet, but you’re always gonna get some collateral damage, right? After all, this is why we call those casualties consumers: this way they remain abstract and we don’t have to connect with their actual life.

Seriously, this terminology, and more importantly, the warped thinking behind it isn’t appropriate anymore, and maybe never was. So if you’re asked by Billy Bob to support the troops in advertising and marketing , it’s just not black and white anymore. All I know is: I don’t wanna support the troops and their strategic goals of “increasing brand awareness” or “building brand preference” or “driving brand consideration” if all I get is an unhuman, purposeless advertising carpet bombing campaign. This marketing warfare myth has to go. The point is, you can’t work like that anymore.

Ok, sure. Let’s say we all agree. How would we go about everything if we stripped out all this militaristic lingo and the thinking behind it?

  1. Don’t just think about positioning in “what is…”, think about “what if?”
  2. Don’t start with the category, the product or the brand. Because, guess what, you will end up where you left off.
  3. Instead, start with a purpose. A purpose, mind you, not a promise. A purpose needs a conviction, a reason for being and a fuel that amplifies it. Fuel comes from a human behavior that we want to enable.
  4. Based on this purpose, think of acts that a brand can create to enable that human behavior in positive ways, instead of just cranking out ads.
  5. Don’t think of creativity as idea generation for campaigns, think of creativity as ideas for experiences and valuable exchanges.
  6. Don’t message at people, message for something they believe in.
  7. Don’t call them consumers, call them people.

Peace out, y’all.

March 19, 2008 at 7:34 pm 3 comments


Subscribe now!

Recent Posts

Archives

My Flickr Photos